Los arqueros oscuros

This is a mysterious, enigmatic and atmospheric poem by Federico Garcia Lorca, inspired by the great city of Sevilla, in his native Andalusia in southern Spain. The city is crossed by the river Guadalquivir, a historically important river, which was the origin of much of Spain’s trade with the Americas in the 1500s and 1600s. In this poem, the city and the river seem to be under the spell of some kind of threat, as the archers approach, presumably by boat.


Los arqueros oscuros
a Sevilla se acercan.

Guadalquivir abierto.

Anchos sombreros grises,
largas capas lentas.

¡Ay, Guadalquivir!

Vienen de los remotos
países de la pena.

Guadalquivir abierto.

Y van a un laberinto.
Amor, cristal y piedra.

¡Ay, Guadalquivir!

From <http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/arqueros.htm&gt;

The poem is short and simple, made up of two line verses followed by a one line exclamation or rather lamentation about the river Guadalquivir. Some mysterious archers are approaching the city of Seville dressed in large hats and capes, hiding their identity and intent. They are coming up the river from remote places of sorrow, presumably to bring sorrow to Sevilla, using the river Guadalquivir as their conduit. They will arrive at the city itself, a maze of love, glass and stone, presumably a reference to the architectural wonders of the place. The outcome is unstated but implied throughout by the suggestions of menace, unease and despair.

Sevilla is still a beautiful city, I recommend a visit, but Lorca himself did not survive to a great age, as he was shot by General Franco’s troops near the start of the Spanish Civil War. For him, the archers arrived.

The Poetry Dude


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